"Applies Emmanuel Levinas's thought in approaching environmental philosophy from both humanistic and nonanthropocentric points of view, arguing that themes at the heart of his work--the significance of the ethical, responsibility, alterity, the vulnerability of the body, bearing witness, and politics--are important for thinking about many of our most pressing contemporary environmental questions" --Provided by publisher.
How might human beings be called to exercise virtue, which is to say, modes of acknowledgement, humility, and discernment, in regard to the impending extinction of the human species? It is argued that the inevitable extinction of the human species be affirmed as a good, in spite of how daunting and uncanny this act might be. This affirmation is called for as humans struggle to find an ethical response appropriate to their creaturely existence, as well as to their devastating complicity (...) in a historical and geological moment of mass species extinction. (shrink)
Merleau-Ponty advances a notion of witness in The Visible and the Invisible, which could be termed “gestate.” Gestate witness involves an acknowledgement through one's own body of how another living entity is born into its own body. This notion of witness is helpful in answering Anthony Weston's challenge that a sufficiently positive notion of environmentalism and so of environmental responsibility be developed, one that takes seriously how we come into contact with a more-than-human animate world. The work of biologist Tarn (...) Ream with Trillium ovatum serves as a case study in the aesthetic, ethical and ontological significance of gestate witness. (shrink)
In his philosophical journal The Inward Morning, Henry Bugbee appeals to the Daodejing to derive principles, particularly that of ziran, of “self-soing,” by which one is guided in thinking heedfully. In this way, one is called reflexively into responsibility for and by things in what Bugbee terms their “density” and “omnirelevance.” Through Bugbee’s unique notion of wilderness as “emergent togetherness,” the periodicity and fluency cultivated in ecological contemplation refines the practice of natural history, such that it is attuned to the (...) manner in which one is called to be at home and so ecologically responsive among the ten-thousand things. (shrink)
The Cove, a recent documentary on the harvesting and slaughter of dolphins in Taiji Japan, envisions this practice as a mode of blasphemy. While the reintroduction of a notion of blasphemy into the search for inter-species justice can illuminate the intensity of the evil one witnesses, one must be wary of this notion’s ethical, political and social implications. In place of a politics of outrage that is deployed by the film, an argument is made for a politics of expiation. In (...) a politics of expiation one begins one’s conversation with the alleged wrongdoer/blasphemer in penitential rather than accusatory witness. (shrink)
Employing the rabbinical practice of midrashic reading in order to unfold a passage from The Song of Songs, the manner in which a European/colonial affirmation of the seasons, particularly the season of spring, might become a mode of injustice in a non-temperate climate is explored. The wilding of seasons imposed by colonial usurpation of country finds a particular case study in the invasion of Arrente lands in Australia by buffel grass even as the effects of climate change are being felt. (...) In conclusion, an argument is made for recasting the practice of midrashic reading in order to render the seasons as they are found in TheSong of Songs vulnerable to unanticipated intonations of the seasons as they emerge in Arrente country. (shrink)
The study of landscape and place has become an increasingly fertile realm of inquiry in the humanities and social sciences. In this new book of essays, selected from presentations at the first annual meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Geography, scholars investigate the experiences and meanings that inscribe urban and suburban landscapes. Gary Backhaus and John Murungi bring philosophy and geography into a dialogue with a host of other disciplines to explore a fundamental dialectic: while our collective and personal (...) activity modifies the landscape, in turn, the landscape modifies human identities, and social and environmental relations. Whether proposing a peripatetic politics, conducting a sociological analysis of building security systems, or critically examining the formation of New York City's municipal parks, each essay sheds distinctive light on this fascinating and engaging aspect of contemporary environmental studies. (shrink)
Beginning in story and memoir, an appeal is made for the practice of “paranoiesis,” a mode of knowing appropriate to dwelling in the company of other living kinds. Paranoiesis is particularly called for in responding to the twin legacies of ecocide and genocide at work in the extirpation of Buffalo across the high plains. Philosophical responses to this plight are called upon to cultivate “rough knowledge,” a mode of hearing the other’s speaking—both human and more-than-human—that eschews dialectical opposition and negative (...) critique for the sake of dialogical fluency and torsion. (shrink)